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Diamondback Snake Seen in the Water Near the River Walk

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Tony Maples Photography


One San Antonio resident got more than he bargained for as he discovered four diamondback snakes at the River Walk. Thomas Sinard, a recent transplant from Ohio, reported he encountered the snakes in a diverting stream not far from the Museum Reach area of the River Walk. An avid hiker, Sinard has seen reptiles many times, but he admitted the snakes surprised him.

Also known as the diamondback water snake (Nerodia rhombifer), these are not to be confused with the legendary diamondback rattlesnake that strikes fear into the hearts of many Texans. Although the sight of them may cause a casual hiker to pause, this water snake is non-venomous and non-aggressive. The western diamondback rattlesnake or Texas diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox), is venomous and usually found in climates that are more arid and dry.

Diamondback Snake Seen in the Water Near the River Walk

Photo: @desgolladay via Twenty20

As Sinard reported, at first he mistook the diamondbacks for the venomous cottonmouth. The cottonmouth, also common to the area, is often misidentified as the diamondback watersnake and vice versa. The two snakes are often mixed up due to the shape of their heads. The cottonmouth, also found near water, has a diamond-shaped head. The triangular shape of the head is common among most venomous snakes. The diamondback water snake will often flatten its head against a surface to give off the impression that it’s a venomous snake.

If you’re out enjoying the River Walk, be mindful of any wildlife you might encounter and keep your distance. With rising summer temperatures, comes increased rodent and insect activity, which goes hand in hand with more snake sightings, as the slithery creatures go out in search of their prey and also sun themselves in the heat of the day.

What’s the most unusual example of wildlife you’ve seen along the River Walk? Let us know all about it!